Once upon a time, there were two single women. They were successful in their professional lives and admired by their friends. Each was given the same role of honor and
responsibility in caring for her widowed and ailing mother. One chose to dishonor a relationship and hoard her power. The other chose to honor a relationship and share her power.
In time, the first woman’s mother suffered a bad fall, breaking several bones. The daughter flew across the country to handle her responsibilities in managing her mother’s financial affairs and overseeing her medical care. She embraced her authority and made all manner of decisions without consulting her only sibling. Periodically, she would call her brother to inform him of her decisions.
The brother repeatedly asked to be included in the decision-making process, but he was consistently denied. When he tried to express his concerns or suggest other options, she would abruptly end the call. Afraid that listening to her brother’s ideas diminished her authority, she quit talking to him at all.
Rather than the long telephone conversations she had once had with him, before their mother’s illness, she sent terse emails that conveyed only minimal information. The siblings grew apart.
The sister wore her responsibility with pride and certainty, but found herself isolated from what little family she had.
In time, the second woman’s mother suffered a stroke, and the daughter flew across the country to handle her responsibilities in managing her mother’s financial affairs and overseeing her medical care. Despite her authority to make decisions unilaterally, she took care to keep her only sibling involved. She talked to her brother regularly, asked his opinion often. She sought his advice.
When difficult choices arose, they discussed the pros and cons and considered facts as well as feelings. They made decisions together, in a timely manner and with honor for the concerns and opinions each sibling expressed. The siblings grew closer.
The sister took pride in her newly found abilities to manage the great responsibility she had been given, and she used these abilities to build stronger relationships in other areas of her life.